How Do I Start A Conversation About Mental Health? The Best Way To Start A Mental Health Conversation
There is no special training or a skill that is you need to start a conversation on mental health– and most often, just talking about it is the most important step you can make in efforts to understand where the other person stands with their mental health, offering them the requires support or treatment if need be.
Here are a few batons you can use for having meaningful conversations with those around you.
1. Let people know you are much willing to engage in conversations regarding mental health
The coolest and coolest way of doing this is opening up about yourself. Even if you have not had a mental health issue in your life, you have had some down moments or some forms of physical pain. Think about in the same way you were in physical pain or emotional stress. Allow the conversation to flow naturally, the same way you would engage with someone with physical pain.
You can also start the conversation like, “I have had struggles in my life. I opened up to someone and it helped me in a big way.”
A casual example as the one above gives has a strong impact and assures the other person that you are a safe person to talk to and they can always reach you for help in the future when they are ready to open up.
2. What are some of the things to say to someone you suspect might be struggling?
If you suspect someone is suffering in silence, trust your guts. You can speak to them privately. You can start with a care expression and follow up with an observation.
You can let them know that you care and add that you have noticed some changes in recent days. Or let them know that you notice their lately frustration, or follow up on asking how they are doing.
You can also teach yourself to normalize mental health topics by asking them directly.
For instance, “is what that is happening at work stressing you out? I have noted that you barely have some off time these days”
“I just wonder if you feel overawed by all that is happening in your family”
Statements like above basically shows that you get it, it is normal and much okay to be overwhelmed in response to life challenges.
3. You don’t have to give the perfect timing
In some cases, you may not be in a position to speak to someone immediately you notice the struggle. However, it is wise if you circle back some time soon. Again, it is not wise to wait for several days to pass.
Creating space at times is the safest thing to do. However, when you decide to talk to them, give a signal that you are free to have a conversation when the right time for them comes.
4. What happens if they hesitate?
In some cases, the other person might be worried or feel that sharing what they feel is a burden to others. It is good you give assurance for your support and care. Show them that you are ready to listen.
5. What if the person feels comfortable talking to someone else?
You can suspect that the person is free talking to someone else and not you. In this case, you can offer help to connect them to them.
You can also inquire from them if there is any change it makes when they talk to you and ask if there is a person they would feel comfortable talking to.
6. What do you do if they tell you they are having a really hard time?
First, give an assurance that it is much okay to talk and you are ready to listen.
Remind them that everyone goes through tough periods in their lives. You can say in your own words, “let me remind you that we all go through difficult situations and we come out of these situations. Because you are going through hard times does not mean you will always have it rough.”
After they know they can go through the dark places with you, ask for more details about the situation.
Depending on the situation, you can either recommend counseling sessions, or mental health professional.
7. How do you wind down the conversation?
Conclude by reiterating about how glad you are for the chance to connect on deeper grounds in meaningful matters of life. Remind them that we all go through challenges in life from time to time and let them know that you are you will continue to be there to support them.
However, don’t stop there, follow up, and show care and support. This gives them the assurance that you are were and still is a “safe” person to speak to.